I have spent the day doing research on the tenements where my great-grandparents lived in San Francisco prior to their South of Market neighborhood being completely destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire - in their building and most of the building around them there was no water, and there were no windows, no skylights, no ventilation of any kind, no wonder my great-grandmother died of throat cancer at age 43 - I can't even imagine the level of cooking and kerosine smoke she must have inhaled daily! There is this wild idea that San Francisco didn't have the same kind of tenements and slums that many other cities had around the turn of the 20th century but that is just not so - it's just that the evidence of them were completely destroyed. I am mindful that there are places like that in our world even today - may we as a species work together to change that.
After over a year of research, both historical and deeply spiritual, I'm starting to write my next book based on the life of my great-grandma Josephine Juarez Romero Lindsey Smith (Josie) and her family. They lived "South of the Slot" in San Francisco in the late 19th century and through the 1906 earthquake and fire. She had 11 children, seven of whom lived to be adults. Her life had been forgotten but now she lives and speaks through my heart and imagination and DNA. Please wish me well as I start the writing part of what has already been a remarkable relationship with Grandma Josie and her life and spirit.